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 Page 8 NEWFOUNDLAKELIFE.COM July 2022 CommunityThe LeMieux Family, “Fuel For The Rocket”
 By William nieman
Saying each of us is unique is a well-worn cliche. However, like most cliches’, it brims with much truth. I’ve had the opportunity to write about some very special people. The family in this story is right at the top of the list. Many of you know of the LeMieuxes as
the proprietors of Bristol’s music venue and coffee shop, the Purple Pit. Mary and Tom LeMieux have managed The Purple Pit since 2014. Their management of this establish- ment is incidental to our story, which focuses on Mary and Tom’s fulfillment of a dream to raise a family bonded by the love of performing music to- gether. The LeMieux ensemble performs and records as “Swing Rocket” *. Our story reveals the “fuel” that has propelled that rocket since 2010.
As youngsters, Tom and Mary were surrounded by siblings and music in their respective families. Tom was one of eleven children, Mary one of six. Tom’s dad was a well-regarded tuba player, tech- nically masterful. Mary’s parents were folk music musicians. To his father’s chagrin, Tom wasn’t in- terested in the technical nuances so admired by his father. Tom loved the freedom and explora- tion of being self-taught on the guitar. Mary, however, took after her parents and, by age 14, was playing guitar and singing folk music to an admiring public.
The two aspiring perform- ers from Andover, Massachu- setts, connected at a friend of Mary’s wedding. Mary was not only a guest; she was entertain- ing the gathering by singing for her friend. Tom, three years older than Mary, was more than impressed by the pretty, ra- ven-haired Mary Zompa. They began dating and were often seen riding in Tom’s powder blue VW Rabbit. Perhaps, as they rode, the couple started to share a dream of a lifetime together; maybe there was intimate talk of chil- dren and some speculation of a joint career in music. It seems so. They were married on Au- gust 23, 1993, at St. Augustine’s Church in Andover.
A year later, Mary gave birth to the first of five children. They would name the boy Michael. The firstborn would grow to exemplify virtuosity on his cho- sen instrument, the clarinet. He absorbed more formal training than any of the other LeMieuxes, studying under the tutelage of Chuck Beaver and Stephanie Ratte and as a student at the Concord Conservatory of Music. By age 18, Michael had earned the honor of being named the top young clarinet player in New England and being seated with the All New England Symphony. The LeMieuxes welcomed a sec- ond son, Jacob, in 1996. Jacob, unlike his older brother, was wary of formal instrumental study.
Like his dad, he would be self- taught. Instead, he took to the drums and keyboard. Mary’s la- bors brought the final family mu- sician to what would be “Swing Rocket” in 1999 with the birth of a third son Adam. Adam, too, would be self-taught. He chose to express his talent on the bass. The combination of formal training and self-teaching would prove to be symbiotic. It made the band adept at improvisation and gave it the ability to explore the large American songbook freely.
The LeMieux family moved to Bristol in 1999. There, the three boys would be homeschooled. That circumstance allowed Mom and Dad to add a focus on music education to the traditional cur- riculum. The parents were intent on exposing the would-be musi- cians to the history of American music, especially those artists prominent in the sequential story of jazz. As the boys learned
under mom’s tutelage, they would also discover and embrace the innovations of Ragtime per- formers like Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton. Then came the blues of the black composer W. C. Handy. Later, the aspiring trio would be exposed to the music of Armstrong, Ellington, Good- man, and their Dad’s favorite, Louis Prima. Tom opened and ran his first Bristol enterprise,
Wine should be approachable and fun, never snobby!
  We offer quality wines made from premium ingredients purr-fect for any occasion!
Tastings, Wine Slushies and by the glass service.
Cafe Now Open! Outdoor Seating
          Crazy Cat Winery and Cafe
 365 Lake Street, Bristol, NH 03222 • 603-217-0192
       The Bridgewater Inn is pleased to offer family dining in our safe (socially distance) dining room. We offer American & Japanese appetizers, home- made Italian pasta dishes, gourmet wood-fired brick oven pizza’s, Black Angus flamed grilled steaks, the freshest seafood, our famous Japanese Fried Rice, the chef’s specialty “Bulgogi”...wraps, burgers, salads and so much more. All prepared by a father & son team. (Soon Jin & Justin)
 We offer indoor dining or take-out,
curb side if requested.
for online ordering or visit our website menu and call 603-744-3518
We open at 4pm on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 11am on Saturday & Sunday, Closed on Monday & Tuesday.
367 Mayhew Turnpike, Bridgewater (603) 744-3518 •

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